Conceptual Photo Challenge: Photographing Wabi-sabi (Imperfection)

This challenge reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” by Marcel Proust.  Today let’s look at damaged, imperfect, incomplete things with new eyes. Let’s see the beauty in imperfection.

What is Wabi-sabi?

Imperfection means lack of perfection, and it embodies this idea of needing to be fixed, the wrongness of imperfection. In fact there is a certain judgment when things are imperfect, like, “Why don’t you fix that?”

Compare that to the Japanese word wabi-sabi, which encompasses the idea that beauty exists in imperfection and so called flaws. It is a deep appreciate of what something is, regardless of whether it is imperfect, impermanent, or incomplete. In fact, the imperfection, lack of permanence, and lack of completion of something contribute to its beauty.

You can learn more about wabi-sabi here.


#MindfulPhotoChallenge Day 11: Wabi-sabi (Imperfection)

The challenge today is to photograph something that is wabi-sabi, or beautifully imperfect. Our lives are filled with imperfect things, the challenge is to look at them and see the beauty in them.

A misshapen, handmade piece of pottery.

A weed in a garden.

Peeling paint on a door.

The seedhead of a flower.

Rust on metal.

photographing wabi-sabi

When you choose your subject, try to photograph it in an interesting way. Fill up the frame, get close, experiment with your point of view. Use some tips from the earlier challenges, like accentuate texture or rule of thirds.

Share your images on Instagram with #mindfulphotochallenge and/or #RefocusPhotoChallenge, and tag me @ goodhartphotography.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like:

  • My full color 30-Day Photography Challenge Workbook here on Amazon.
  • My Photography Articles Listed and Sorted by Type here
  • My Mindful Photography Workshop here
  • My “A Gossamer Thread” Newsletter about photography/creativity, productivity, and joy here

Photo credits: David-Boca, Jessica-Eirich, and Michael-Dziedzic